By holding up its decision to suspend Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman for 20 games on Wednesday, the National Hockey League made it clear that abuse of officials will not be tolerated. Well, at least in this instance.
While not every incident of abuse on officials is an intentional or suspendable offence, there certainly seems to be a lot of happening thus far in the 2015-16 season.
Linesman Steve Miller became the latest official to fall victim to violence Thursday night (see above) when he found himself in the way of a clearing attempt in a game between the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders.
Miller would be OK, although he took another puck off the leg later in the contest.
Is abuse of officials, intentional or otherwise, on the rise? Let’s eschew any sort of reliable data and defer to a recent study from the University of My Eyeballs. Yes, it is certainly on the rise.
Canucks’ Weber gets a headstart on the season
A September pre-season game saw Vancouver Canucks defenceman Yannick Weber run into lineman Don Henderson in a not-so-dissimilar fashion to the incident that cost Wideman 20 games (appeal pending).
Weber went unpunished.
Maybe it was the officials who drew first blood in the regular season
Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov suffered a lower-body injury in November following a run-in with linesman Matt MacPherson. MacPherson bumped into Yakupov and dragged down the winger while attempting to brace his fall. Yakupov missed nearly two months of action.
Peel takes clearing attempt to the face
Referee Tim Peel was in the line of fire of a clearing attempt in a December meeting between the Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues.
This wasn’t the first time a shot prohibited Peel from doing his job.
Nolan gets away with one
Jordan Nolan of the Los Angeles Kings blatantly lays a hand on an official in a December game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. There was no call on the play.
Peel prevents Dorsett on scoring chance
Tim Peel at it again. Canucks forward Derek Dorsett was a little upset when Peel prevented him from going to the net in the middle of the ice.
Say, have you heard the one about Peel and shots?
Skinner hacks away
Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner couldn’t believe he failed to score on a spin-o-rama attempt. An official became an inadvertent recipient of Skinner’s frustration, taking a harmless hack to the shin. Oops.
Muzzin plows over Sutherland
Referee Kelly Sutherland took a blindside blow from Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin in January game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Sutherland left the ice on his own following the shoulder-to-head collision. He returned to the game. Hockey tough.
Down goes everybody
Both Buffalo Sabres’ Sam Reinhart and Colorado Avalanche forward John Mitchell were shaken up in a January 21 game, while an official hit the ice after taking a puck to the head half a sheet of ice away.
Milan Lucic has earned a reputation as a tough customer for the damage he’s done to opponents’ noggins with his fists. Now he’s taking aim at officials, apparently.
Lucic leveled linesman Jay Sharrers right in the jaw with the blow. He also escaped any form of punishment from the league. This one occurred on the same night as Wideman’s run in with Henderson…
The Wideman incident
The now infamous collision between Wideman and Don Henderson has been the topic of much discussion. If there’s anything we’ve learned it’s that you should never discuss it via text message.
Engelland exacts revenge (not really)
The Flames had a lot to think about over the NHL All-Star break with the extended loss of Wideman looming.
Frustration came to a head shortly after the break when Deryk Engelland caught referee Mike Leggo in the face with a puck on February 3. No intent, just a coincidence. Ouch.
Smith bodies Rooney
Detroit Red Wings’ Brendan Smith is a fairly big and fairly powerful man. Veteran referee Chris Rooney can attest to that.